Beth-El Congregation

Curriculum

Beth-El: Learning for Jewish Life
Enduring Understandings of the Curriculum Core

We at Beth-El Religious School are thrilled to be joining over 400 other congregations in the Reform Movement in using the CHAI Curriculum. The CHAI curriculum engages students about big questions that are relevant to their lives, exploring the richness and depth of Jewish tradition. It is our hope that you, as parents will enjoy learning along with your children as they explore this new curriculum. As members of the Reform Movement we will receive on-going training and support to ensure the successful implementation of this curriculum as well as its continued success within our congregation.

Our ancient texts tell us that the world stands on three things, Torah, Avodah and G'milut Chasadim. Our new curriculum focuses on these three areas and engages students on all levels in deep understanding of these core Jewish concepts. Throughout the seven years of the curriculum students focus on developing a personal understanding of in each of the three areas.

Torah

  • Torah is an ongoing dialogue between the text and its students.
  • Torah is real in our daily lives; it is with us wherever we are.
  • Developing the skills to study Torah is essential to integrating Torah into our lives.

Avodah

  • Avodah is the work we do to find sacred connections to God, community, and self
  • Engaging in the work of avodah can bring order, beauty, meaning and insight to our lives.

G'milut Chasadim

  • We have a responsibility to perform acts of g'milut chasadim to make the world a better, holier place.

Each week parents will receive a letter which informs you of what your children learned in class. We encourage you to be active learners with your children and to engage them in conversations about their learning in religious school. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Education Director, Ilana Knust.

For a printable version, click here.

2-3 years old

Sunday 9:30-12:00
Students age 2 by Sept. 1
 

Our program will prepare your child with life skills by offering a variety of learning centers and experiences. The classroom environment will challenge the toal child: physically, emotionally, socially, and cognitively.

 

Holidays: Children will discover the joy of our holiday traditions through art, movement, cooking, music and drama. Learning by using the five senses.

Bible stories: Creation, Adam and Eve, the Tower of Babel, Jonah and the great fish, Noah and the flood, Abraham discovers God, Moses, and the Exodus.

The Bible stories and the values drawn from them will be introduced through lots of crafts, music, cooking, games, dramatic role playing, and more. Basic Hebrew holiday vocabulary will be introduced. A Hebrew specialist will introduce the Hebrew alphabet weekly for thirty minutes.


Pre-Kindergarten

Sunday 9:30-12:00

The Torah stories and the Holidays teach us how to live as a Jew with my family and community. Exposure to Jewish life and community promotes students love for Judaism.

The Topic for their curriculum will be holidays, T’fillah (prayers), Bible stories, and Hebrew.

 

Shabbat/Havadalah, Hachnasat Orchim (Hospitality), Shomrei Adamah (Caring for the Earth), Tzedakah, Bikkur Cholim (Visiting the Sick
Tzar Ba’alei Chayim (Caring for Animals, Mishpacha, Talking about God, Peace, Hebrew, Prayes- Shabbat and Sh’ma

Kindergarten

Sunday 9:30-12:00
Students age 5 by Sept. 1
 

Kindergarten is honored in a special service called Consecration during Simchat Torah on October 2, 2015. Celebrating Jewish holidays is an essential aspect of Jewish Identity.

The Topic for their curriculum will be Jewish symbols, Jewish Values, holidays, T'fillah (prayers), Torah portion of the week, Bible stories, and Hebrew.

Holidays, Tzedaka, Havdala and Tikun Olam: Children will discover the joy of our holiday traditions through a series of booklets called Jewish and Me, crafts and folktales.

Bible stories: Creation, Adam and Eve, Jonah, Noah and the flood, Joseph, David and Goliath, Daniel and the lion’s den, and the life of Moses.

The Bible stories and the values drawn from them will be introduced through lots of crafts, music, cooking, games, dramatic role playing and more. Basic Hebrew holiday vocabulary will be introduced. A Hebrew specialist will introduce the Hebrew Aleph Bet weekly for thirty minutes. Students will learn Shabbat blessings for the candles, wine, and challah. They will learn to chant the Sh'ma, Bar'chu and Shabbat songs.


Grade 1

Theme: Discovering myself in the Jewish story.

 

Torah - What Is Torah? Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham and Sarah, Rebekah. Woman of Kindness and Courage; Jacob and Esau; Joseph (Lesson Alef): Trouble among Brothers, Joseph (Lesson Bet): Personal Change and Reconciliation, The Genesis Journey Map.

How is the story of Torah different than other stories I might read, and how is it the same? Who was the first person that God created? Why did God create a second person? Understanding how Noah took care of the unique needs of animals is similar to our understanding of how to take care of the unique needs of people? What are the qualities that Abraham and Sarah possess that would make God think they are worthy to be the founders of Judaism? How can I incorporate Abraham and Sarah’s positive qualities in to my own life? Why did Abraham’s servant pick Rebecca to be a wife for Isaac?
What happened between Jacob and Esau that caused trouble in their family? What did Joseph do that made his brothers jealous? What happens to Joseph in Egypt? How did Joseph and his brothers change in order for them to forgive each other? What were the Genesis stories the class studied this year and what where their main messages?
 

Avodah - Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Simchat Torah, What Is a Blessing?, Havdalah, Chanukah, Purim, Pesach, Shehecheyanu

What are the special concepts and symbols associated with the High Holy Days? How can I be part of the Jewish story by engaging in the process of t’shuvah? Why is Simchat Torah an important Jewish holiday? How can the Torah make me happy? What is a blessing? When and why do we say blessings? What is the story of Chanukah? What are some of the positive qualities of the Maccabees? How can I be like the Maccabees How did Esther and Mordechai’s actions show their Jewish pride What are some of the important messages of the Exodus story? How can I be a part of the Passover story today? When are appropriate times to say Shehecheyanu?
 

G’milut Chasadim (Deeds of loving kindness) Being Kind with Derech Eretz, Do Not Do to Others..., Repentance: Is Sorry Saying Enough?, Welcoming Guests. Hachnasat Orchim, Helping Our Synagogue Community, Taking Care of the Earth. Tzedakah: A Different Way of Helping, G’milut Chasadim being a Hero.

What are acts of g’milut chasadim and tzedakah? How can I be a Jewish hero by doing these things? What are examples of acts of kindness and how can I do them? How are taking turns and including others acts of g’milut chasadim? How can I do these things? Why should we say we’re sorry? When should we say we’re sorry? Why should we forgive others? When should we forgive others? Who are some biblical heroes? What can they teach me about welcoming guests? Who are some of the helpers in our synagogue community? How is what they do a kind of g’milut chasadim? Why should we take care of the earth? How can we take care of the earth? Who in the story of the Jewish people took care of the earth? What is tzedakah? Why should we give tzedakah? Whom can we help by giving tzedakah? What are some of the acts of g’milut chasadim that we remember experiencing this year? What is my role in making g’milut chasadim a part of our world?

Grade 2:

Theme: I am part of the Jewish people.

Torah - Intro to Torah, Intro to Book of Sh'mot, Parashat Sh'mot - When I was a slave in Egypt, Parashat Sh'mot-Finding God in Small Places, Parashiyot Va-eira Bo: The ten plagues, Parashat B'shalach: Song at the Sea, Parashat Yitro: Helping Hands, The Ten Commandments, Parashat Ki Tisa: The Israelites and the Golden Calf

Avodah - Why Can't I See God?, Asking God for help, Thanking God for who I am, Shabbat Blessings, Morning Blessings, Sh'ma, Evening Blessings (Lesson Alef): Hashkiveinu, (Lesson Bet): Sh'ma, Shabbat: A Time to Connect to God, Connecting to God through our behavior.

 

Torah - Intro to Torah, Intro to Book of Sh'mot, Parashat Sh'mot - When I was a slave in Egypt, Parashat Sh'mot-Finding God in Small Places, Parashiyot Va-eira Bo: The ten plagues, Parashat B'shalach: Song at the Sea, Parashat Yitro: Helping Hands, The Ten Commandments, Parashat Ki Tisa: The Israelites and the Golden Calf

Avodah - How do I know God exists if I can’t see God? How can I see God’s imprint in the world and thereby recognize God’s presence? Why praise God? How can I praise God? How can God help me? When is it appropriate to ask God for help? How do I ask God for help? What does it mean to be created in God’s image? How do we thank God for creating us as we are, rather than how we wish we were? How can I strengthen my connection to God as I prepare for bed? What images are associated with the idea of a sukkat shalom? How can I strengthen my connection to God as I prepare for bed? How is each new day a gift from God? How can we say thank you and praise God for this gift? What is God’s presence reflected in my own behavior? What actions can I take to reflect God’s presence in the world

G’milut Chasadim - What is g’milut chasadim? How can one perform acts of g’milut chasadim? How do I change the world when I perform acts of g’milut chasadim? What kind of g’milut chasadim can I do? When can I do different kinds of g’milut chasadim? What is g’milut chasadim? How can we learn about g’milut chasadim from the Torah? How can I be God’s partner in fixing the world? What are the different organizations whose supporters perform acts of g’milut chasadim? How do these organizations perform acts of g’milut chasadim and help people in need? How can I perform acts of g’milut chasadim by helping these organizations? What can Jewish texts teach me about how to perform different acts of g’milut chasadim? What are the ways that we can perform an act of loving kindness for the elderly? What types of organizations and agencies help feed the hungry in our community? How can we as a class and school community help feed the hungry? What are the needs of the homeless? How can we help agencies that serve the homeless? How do we know when we are performing acts of g’milut chasadim and making the world a better place?


Grade 3:

Theme: Kedushah (holiness)

Torah - Introduction to Vayikra/Leviticus - Parashat K'doshim: Holiness; Parashat Vayikra: Sacrifice, Gifts, Drawing Near; Parashat Sh'mini: Kashrut - Holy Eating; Parashat K'doshim Session Alef: Stumbling Block; Parashat K'doshim Session Bet: Tochecha (Rebuking Others); Parashat Emor: Shabbat - Holy Time; Parashat B'har: The Sabbatical Year - Holiness of the Earth; Parashat K'doshim: Love Your Neighbor, Parashat B'chukotai: Rules, Laws, and Teachings - Passing It On

Avodah - Synagogue Helps Us Make Room for God, Road Signs to God, How Do We Relate to God?, Getting Connected, Acting Holy, Everything's B'seder, All Is in Order, Our Bodies Are a Gift from God, Ordinary Moments Can Be Kadosh, Taking God Home

 

Torah - What does k’dushah/ holiness mean? What is the connection between an offering to God and drawing close to God? How can I make an offering to God through my actions? What does it mean to put a stumbling block before the blind? How are we all blind? What does it mean to curse the deaf? How are we all deaf? What are the rules/guidelines for practicing tochecha? How does telling someone she or he did something wrong help that person? How can the guidelines for tochecha make me a better friend? To whom does the land belong, God or people? What do we need to do to take care of the earth? What does it mean to love my fellow human being as myself? How might I do this? How does loving others as I love myself lead to more? How has the Torah been passed on? What do I want to pass on, and to whom? How does the synagogue, and its people and objects, help me connect to God? What about the synagogue is kadosh?

 

Avodah - What do I do when I feel distant from God? What does the Torah teach me about my relationship with God? How can we help each other to recognize God in challenging times? Using the High Holy Days text, Ki Anu Amecha (We Are Your People), students examine how our relationships with one another help us have a relationship with God and how human relationships can be metaphors for relationships with God. This lesson focuses on the shehecheyanu blessing as a way of acknowledging God and our connections to each other, God, and God’s creations. How can I experience moments of connection to God? How is striving for a connection to God, holy? How to reflect the holiness of one’s body by the way we take care of it is the topic of this lesson. Students will use text study and art to answer this question. Students are introduced to the section of the morning blessings (Nisim B’chol Yom), which thank God for the miracle of “ordinary” things…In this concluding lesson, students will review the ideas they have explored about God, about doing the work to connect to God, and about how each person can make the world more kadosh by taking the time to recognize and think about God

G’milut Chasidim - What does it mean to take responsibility to perform g’milut chasadim? Why do we have a responsibility to do g’milut chasadim? Students learn about our responsibility for helping Jews around the world and utilizing fact‐finding stations, they discover ways to do this. This lesson raises the question of how to keep a balance between helping ourselves and helping others. Students will use music, text study, and a values clarification activity to accomplish this. Using music, movement, stories and discussion, students will learn how one person can make a difference and how our acts of g’milut chasadim make a difference by influencing others. Learning stations and a “palm pilot” activity help students understand how they can consciously incorporate acts of g’milut chasadim into their daily lives. A Jewish Road Map Game helps students “find” the Jewish values described in the Elu D’varim text from the Talmud and found in our prayer book that are of utmost importance. In this lesson, students take a tour of the Jewish holiday cycle, using text study, a card game, and creative skits, to identify the acts of g’milut chasadim connected with holiday celebrations. The focus of this lesson is on how the Jewish holidays give us opportunities to take responsibility for doing g’milut chasadim and how we can make the world more holy/kadosh when we celebrate the Jewish holidays. How can I do g’milut chasadim in my own community, right away? How does doing g’milut chasadim help me live a Jewish life?


Grade 4:

Theme: Being Part of the Community

Torah - Am Yisrael, Eretz Yisrael, and the B'rit, Am Yisrael—Session Alef: All Jews are Members of Am Yisrael; I Am a Member of Am Yisrael, Am Yisrael - Session Bet: It Takes Twelve Tribes to Create a People, Eretz Yisrael - Session Alef: The Physical Land, Eretz Yisrael - Session Bet: The Land for Our Souls, B'rit - Session Alef: Parashat Sh'lach L'cha: Becoming Like Joshua and Caleb, B'rit - Session Bet: Parashat Sh'lach L'cha: Becoming Like Joshua and Caleb, B'rit -Session Gimel: Keeping the B'rit, Wrap-Up: We Are About to Enter the Land

Avodah Kavanah, Keva: Why We Pray, Siddur Geography: Our Journey through the Prayer Book, The Sh'ma and Its Blessings: Finding Kavanah in Keva (Session Alef: Sh'ma and V'ahavta), The Sh'ma and Its Blessings: Finding Kavanah in Keva (Session Bet: Creation, Revelation, Redemption), Kiddush: Sanctifying Our Lives Through Fixed Prayer and Personal Feelings of Holiness, Communal and Individual Prayers, Blessings of Wonder, Silent Prayer: Creating a Moment for Ourselves, with Our Own Words

G’milut Chasidim - Making Peace Among Friends, Sh'lom Bayit: Peace and Harmony at Home, Accepting Differences: Love Your Neighbor as Yourself (V'ahavta L'rei-acha Kamocha),Show Honor with Action: Honor Your Parents (Kibud Av Va-em),Befriending the Lonely, The Danger of Gossip: L'shon Hara,Understanding the Elderly, Honoring the Elderly (Kibud Z'keinim) Session Alef,Honoring the Elderly (Kibud Z'keinim) Session Bet: Intergenerational Program

Torah - What are the characteristics of Eretz Yisrael that have been so attractive to Am Yisrael over time? Using Biblical texts, commentaries and poetry, students will encounter the conceptual aspect of Eretz Yisrael and the notion of Jerusalem as the center of the world for Jews. What is different and similar between the reports of Joshua and Caleb and those of the scouts regarding Eretz Yisrael? Why might the reports be different? What can we learn from the response of the Israelites to the reports about the connection between keeping our part of the b’rit/covenant with God and Eretz Yisrael? What advice would help the Israelites be more like Joshua and Caleb? What does it mean to keep the b’rit/covenant with God. Kavanah ─ intention and concentration in prayer. What actions do I need to take in order to experience kavanah? What would an experience of kavanah feel like for me?

Avodah – Why should I pray? How can a fixed prayer like the Sh’ma/V’ahavta inspire kavanah? How can the themes of the Sh’ma provide meaning, guidance, and comfort in my life? Creation, revelation and redemption surrounding the Sh’ma and its blessings. How can understanding the themes of prayers or blessings help me understand the prayers or blessing in a personal way? The concept of p’tichah and chatimah as a “clue” to meaning is introduced in the lesson. How does the Kiddush blessing express the concept of our holy relationship with God? When do I personally experience feelings of holiness? How is praying in community different than praying individually? How can I experience personal moments of kavanah within a communal worship setting? What is the power of being in community? How can saying blessings help us recognize moments as holy or awesome? How does saying blessings help me feel a connection to God? What are some of the things we can do every day that provide an opportunity for avodah, making sacred connections? How can I experience kavanah and feel moments of connection to God? How can I feel a sense of sacred connections by using my own words? How does having a fixed time for using my own words help my experience of kavanah throughout the service?

G’milut Chasidim -  Why is peace among friends important? How can you play a role in making peace among friends? What are the risks in being a peacemaker? What are different ways to make peace among friends? How is making peace an act of g’milut chasadim? What is sh’lom bayit? Why is sh’lom bayit a Jewish value? What other Jewish values contribute to sh’lom bayit? What does it mean to be different? How are people different? How can we learn to be accepting of the differences in others? How does it feel to be accepted for who you are? Why do we have a responsibility to accept differences in others? What can we learn from the Torah about honoring parents? What is the difference between honor and respect? How, when, and why should we honor our parents? How can I reach out to lonely people? What are the barriers to making friends? What do Jewish texts teach us about reaching out to people who are lonely? What is gossip and why should we avoid it? What does our Jewish tradition teach us about the consequences of gossip? Why should we honor the elderly? How can I show honor to the elderly? How is honoring the elderly a way of revering God? Where in Jewish sources do we learn about honoring the elderly? This lesson follows the previous one and involves inviting elderly guests into the classroom. The students will address these questions: How can I show honor [to the elderly] and act as a gracious host? What can I learn from elderly people? How do I make a difference when I honor the elderly in my community?


Grade 5:

Theme: N'evi'im/ Prophets and K'tuvim/ Writings

Torah - Tanach: Getting to Know You, Meet the Prophets; Joshua: Warrior Prophet; Deborah: Bringing Light to Her World; Jonah and Jeremiah: The Reluctant Prophets; Amos and Isaiah: The Intolerant Prophets; Elijah: Who Was He? Who Is He? M’gillat Rut / The Book of Ruth: Mining the Text for Meaning. M’gillat Rut / The Book of Ruth: Finding God in Moab and Canaan. Introduction to Wisdom Literature Mishlei / Proverbs: Wise Words for.

Avodah - The Prayer-to-Action Connection, Introduction to the Amidah, Amidah Section 1: Brachot of Praise, Amidah Section 2: Brachot of Petition, Amidah Section 3: Brachot of Thanksgiving, The Aleinu Prayer: Choosing God, The Kaddish Prayer: Remembering and Affirming God, Israel in Our Prayers, The Prayer-to-Action Wrap-Up.

G’milut Chasidim - K’hilah: The Jewish Community, Al Tifrosh Min Hatzibur: Do Not Separate Yourself from the Jewish Community, K'vod HaMet: Showing Honor to the Dead, How we Choose Where to Give, Avoiding Embarrassment, Speaking Out and Speaking Up

Torah - What is the meaning of the term Tanach? What are the characteristics of the three different sections of the Tanach? How do the prophets see themselves? What is God looking for in a prophet? What was special or important about Joshua? What qualities did he have that might have caused God to choose him as a prophet and leader? What aspects of Joshua’s behavior can provide a good model for us today? Students will study texts and midrashim to learn the difference between a judge and a prophet. They will then compose their own song about Deborah to reflect their learning. Why would a prophet be reluctant to hear God’s call? How did Jeremiah and Jonah answer God’s call? How would you react to God’s call? What are some of the problems that God might see in our world today? What problems did God see that God spoke to the Israelites about through Amos and Isaiah? How is the world we live in similar to that of Amos and Isaiah? Who is the prophet Elijah? What are Elijah’s unique characteristics? How and why is Elijah important to us today? What values do we still hold from the time of the prophets? What do we as Reform Jews and inheritors of prophetic Judaism need to speak out about? Students analyze the words of Debbie Friedman’s song based on Joel 3:1, “And the Youth Shall See Visions” to define the role of a prophet in our world today. They will then create a social action project that reflects their feeling about social justice.

Avodah - How can prayer affect what I do? Students will explore the relationship between prayer and their lives. How can understanding the structure of the Amidah help me to better understand prayer as a means of strengthening my relationship with the Divine? How can I understand the themes of the Amidah in order to develop a personal discipline surrounding the recitation of the Amidah? How can I feel a sense of kavanah when praying the Amidah so that my words are “always acceptable on high?” Please note that in each of the following lessons, the specific prayers are included for student study. In exploring the difference between the things we want and the things we need, students will explore how the communal needs of the Jewish people have changed over time and how their own needs can be addressed in prayer. Students will analyze what it means to give thanks to God and why is it important to do so. They will also address the question of how a better understanding of the themes of prayers of thanksgiving help us be more grateful in our lives. Students will learn the meaning of the Aleinu prayer and will consider how the concepts of particularism and universalism affect how they think about being Jewish. The different forms of the Kaddish prayer and their roles in the worship service are explored. Students will learn how the historical and ongoing connection between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel has been reflected in our prayers and in other Jewish texts. How can the Amidah, the Aleinu, and the Kaddish prayers, written so long ago, have meaning for us today? In reviewing the prayers they learned in this unit, students will be challenged to interpret them in a way that has meaning for our time.

 


Grade 6:

Theme: Questions, questions all around…
Tough question Jews ask:
Count me in, I can stand up and be a part.
Count me in, let me find my own way
For I can be counted on, so I’m accountable.
Count me in, count me in today.
This new innovative curriculum will reach them where they are, help deepen their understanding of Judaism, have a meaningful Bar/Bat Mitzvah service and hopefully motivate them to continue to study and to live Jewishly. Studying Jewish texts allows our students to explore tough questions they will discuss in depth: The existence of God. Is the Torah true? Did God gave the Torah on month Sinai? Do miracles happen today? Why bad things happen to good people? Why we have nature disasters? What happens after we die? Who was Jesus?
 
Avodah - Standing at Sinai: My Role in Revelation. The Torah Service as Public Reading. The Torah Service and Community Building. Finding Our Way to Sinai: A Map of the Torah Service. Choreography and Etiquette of the Torah Service. The Blessings of Torah. What is the Haftarah? The Role of Sh’liach Tzibur. My Communal Role in Revelation: Entering the Covenant as a Jewish Adult
 

G’milut Chasidim- Jews and the Struggle for Civil Rights. What can I learn from Jewish texts about world issues? What makes something a “world issue?” What world issues are of concern to us? How can we be advocates for world issues?

Bar/Bat Mitzvah: becoming not only an adult, but becoming a responsible Jew, validating the uniqueness of Judiasm and make a personal commitment to Judaisim.
 
How did God reveal God’s self to our ancestors, and how does God reveal God’s self to us today? What is wisdom, according to Jewish texts? What does God have to do with wisdom? How can ancient Jewish perspectives on wisdom speak to me today? What is the meaning of Revelation? What meaning does it have in my life? What is my role in Revelation? What does it mean that we stood at Mount Sinai, and what responsibility do I have as a result of having been present at Mount Sinai? What do I believe about God? What is my relationship with God? How does God reveal God’s self in our world? In this lesson, students will create their own text that describes their relationship with God.
 

 

Topic/question(s) to be addressed during Hebrew school B’nai Mitzvah Tfillah with Rabbi

 

  • The power of the public reading of the Torah and expands on its power to build community.
  • What happens in the Torah service and why is it like a reenactment of Sinai?
  • How is public reading of Torah different than reading or studying privately? Why is it important to hear Torah read in community?
  •  How can I find personal meaning within the spectrum of customs and traditions surrounding the Torah service?
  • What is the significance of a blessing before and after an action and what are the possible messages in the blessings before and after the Torah reading? What is the blessing of Torah in my life?
  • What is the haftarah? What is commentary, or interpretation, and how is the haftarah like commentary?
  • Why is the role of sh’liach tzibor (a community’s worship leader) important? What do I need to know ?

 

G’milut Chasidim: What does it mean that we stood at Sinai as a people, and what responsibility do I have as a result of having been present at Sinai? Am I still a part of the Jewish community even when I don’t feel a connection to Revelation/Torah or to God?

What can I learn from Jewish sources about my responsibility for protecting nature and the environment? How can I experience Revelation by working to protect the environment? How can I get involved in environmental issues such as recycling or protecting the rainforests? Why are environmental concerns world issues? What are the causes of world hunger and what can we do about it? What does Judaism teach us about our responsibility for world hunger? How can I experience Revelation by working against world hunger? Students continue exploring the concept of bal tashchit, this time focusing on the topic of recycling and conserving energy. Students will investigate the conservation practices of their own synagogue as a way to teach others about the issues relating to the protection of the world.


Grade 7:

Theme: Hineini – What Does it Mean to Be a Responsible Jewish Adult?

What are the Jewish behaviors, the mitzvot and precepts that the Talmud text Eilu D’varim asserts to be “priceless,” of infinite value? Are the behaviors described in Eilu D’varim important for me as a Jew to observe today?
 
How important is belief compared to action, according to the teachings or our tradition? What are the central statements of Jewish faith and how do I feel about them? Are there things that I should do as a Jewish adult, whether or not I believe or feel like doing them?
 
How will I personally choose to say Hineini as an adult? In this lesson, students will complete projects that represent their thinking about questions of their adult Jewish identity.
 
Torah
Lech L’cha, The Journeys We Take, Cain and Abel: Family Relationships, Akeidat Yitzchak, The Binding of Isaac: Honoring Parents, Rebekah: A Virtuous Woman?, Rebekah: Tough Choices, God and Abraham: A Relationship Like No Other, Jacob and the Ish/Being: Struggling to Change (Lesson Alef), Jacob and the Ish/Being: Struggling to Change (Lesson Bet), Wrap Up: Our Lessons from Genesis/B’reishit

Avodah
Introduction to the Jewish Life Cycle
Birth and Death: Teach Us to Number Our Days   The High Holy Days: Focus on Repentance
 Pesach – Questions: Then and Now
Chanukah and Purim: Do You Believe in Miracles (and Boundaries)? Introduction to the Jewish Identity Unit (Lessons 7, 8, and 9)
My Jewish Identity: Eilu D’varim – What Must I Do?
My Jewish Identity: Sh’ma – What Do I Believe?

 

Torah - What is the journey Abraham is asked to take? Why would Abraham want to take such a journey? What blessings can Abraham expect to receive and what are the things he might be afraid of? What is my relationship with my siblings? Students will discuss what they can learn about family relationships in the Torah and reflect on how they can find themselves in this text. Using the story of the binding of Isaac, students will explore what it means to honor their parents. Why is it not so easy to honor your parents? Does honoring a parent mean that you have to obey? How does Rebekah’s strength and ability to make difficult decisions affect our image of her? What can we learn from Rebekah about our own lives and the difficult decisions we sometimes face? In this lesson, students will learn about Rebekah’s rich and complex character and learn to appreciate the positive qualities of others by creating a blessing for a woman who is important in their lives. Why is Rebekah chosen to be Isaac’s wife? What can we learn from Rebekah, and the other women of B’reishit/Genesis, about our own lives and the difficult decisions we must face? How might one characterize the relationship between God and Abraham as reflected in the Sodom and Gomorrah story? What can I learn from this relationship about my relationship with God and my relationship with other people? In this lesson, students will study this story through the text itself as well as through the compendium of Torah commentary, Mikraot G’dolot. What causes a person to change? How can struggle lead to change? Students reflect on their own experience with struggle and change, as well as reflect on the struggles of other people from the book of Breishit/ Genesis.

Avodah - Introduction to the Jewish Life Cycle, B'nai Mitzvah and Marriage: Responsibility and Relationships, Birth and Death: Teach Us to Number Our Days, The High Holy Days: Focus on Repentance, Pesach--Questions: Then and Now, Chanukah and Purim: Do You Believe in Miracles (and Boundaries)?, My Jewish Identity: Eilu D'varim – What Must I Do?, My Jewish Identity: Sh'ma – What Do I Believe?, My Jewish Identity: Hineini

What are the events of the Jewish life cycle and what is their significance? How does acknowledging and participating in Jewish life cycle events affect my Jewish identity? How is participating in Jewish life cycle events a way of saying

Hineini?

What are the elements of preparation necessary for the Bar/Bat Mitzvah ceremony? How do these help define me as an adult? Students will create a Personal Preparation Plan that will include their reflections about what is needed in order to become a Bar/Bat Mitzvah in the sense of entering responsible Jewish adulthood.

What are the unique rituals of the High Holy Days? How do the Kol Nidre prayer and the rituals of the High Holy Days help me better understand myself and my own abilities and limitations? Students will come to understand that Judaism has a tradition of being accepting of our failings and will develop a deeper appreciation for God’s patience with us despite our shortcomings.

What do the four children of the Passover seder mean to us? How can we feel like active participants in the Passover story through the asking of questions? What are the ways in which we can be “enslaved” even though we live in freedom here and now?

What message do the stories of Chanukah and Purim

 

G’milut Chasidim - Time for a Checkup. That’s What Friends Are For:Being A Loyal Friend (Dibuk Chaverim). Truth as an Act of Kindness (Emet) . Stop the Bullying NOW!: Not Standing Idly By (Lo Ta’amod al Dam Reiecha). Keep Your Cool: Being Slow to Anger (Erech Apayim). What’s With the Attitude? Have a Pleasant Demeanor (Seiver Panim Yafot).


Midrasha – 8th - 9th grades.

Sundays, 9:30-12:00.

9:30-10:40 – core class curriculum in class.
10:45-11:00 – break in the lounge.
11:00-12:00- Midrasha session(8th and 9th together)

First semester: “Wisdom and wonder from the Rabbis of the Talmud”

Second semester - Early adult issues - K’dushat haguf-holiness  of the body.

The Talmudic knowledge is wisdom for living is an innovative curriculum which will introduce our students to the world of rabbinic thought and literature in order to challenge their Jewish beliefs.  Using primary texts from Torah, Talmud, Midrash, and other rabbinic writings, the 8th and 9th grade students will explore the history and main characters of this literature while developing the skills and knowledge to read and understand the text. They will be encouraged to respond to these texts from their own insights and personal experience in order to apply these texts to their own lives. This curriculum will be taught using methods of small group discussions, court settings for debate, as well as discussing what these famous rabbis’ stories can teach us about Jewish living and more.

  • Where in Jewish sources can I learn about being a loyal friend?
  • What can we learn from our sages Hillel and Shammai about the boundaries between truth and falsehood? How does the middah of truthfulness lead to acts of g’milut chasadim? Why do Jewish texts teach us about the importance of truthfulness?
  • What Jewish values can help us understand and respond to bullying?
  • What can we learn from Jewish tradition about the importance of being slow to anger?
  • Where do I learn about the middah in Jewish sources? Why does my attitude affect those around me?
  • What does Jewish tradition teach us about being generous and what lessons can we take from the tradition to guide our lives as generous people?

8th grade –From the Road of Experience . Onto the Highway of Understanding.

Each session and each classical Jewish text from the Talmud, Mishnah or Midrash is framed around thought-provoking questions of modern significance. With the close support of peers teachers, the students will be able to develop their independence in discussing, understanding Jewish text and bringing it into conversation with our lives today. Each lesson will be accompanied with a field trip.

  • Beginning Our Jewish Journey
  • The Essence of Torah and Our Jewish Soul.
  • Putting Ourselves on Trial-Rosh Hashanah
  • Real Courage Yom Kippur
  • Generation to Generation -Sukkot
  • Good Timing
  • Moses Ibn Ezra
  • A World of Beautl
  • The Guiding Light
  • A Judgment
  • The Right Mixture / Priceless
  • The Passport to Heaven / Leftover Turkey
  • Simplicity
  • The Wages of War

9th grade –

  1. Anti-Semitism and the Holocaust and Israel – students will study the history and effects of Anti-Semitism and discuss how to fight hate.
  1. Israel -The birth of Israel.
  1. Christianity and Islam – Early histories of Christianity and Islam, the key beliefs, and their relationship with Judaism.

Second Semester Midrasha

  1. Life Choices – personal ethics, choosing right from wrong and exercising self-control.
  2. Body ethics – Students will discuss drug and alcohol abuse, body piercing, and tattooing through Jewish sources.
Coming of age in an age of confusion – Jewish values and dating. Lessons from the bible about modesty, peer pressure, and interfaith dating.

Confirmation – 10th grade.

This program is designed to develop critical thinking about Jewish topics, develop a sense of personal pride and commitment to Judaism based on the understanding of Jewish beliefs and concepts.

Jewish identity.  Why is Judaism special? What is the basis of Judaism? Who is considered a good Jew? Do we have to believe in God? Can a Jew be a Jew without worshiping? Is Judaism a nationality or a religion? Jewish vs. Christian ideas of the Messiah and Messianic age, body and soul, the world to come, Jewish mysticism, and more.

Confirmation – Mitzvah project 

The student will be involved in several projects throughout the year, such as, Bake for the Seniors, Plan a Hanukkah party for the Seniors, Visit homebound Seniors, Make Purim mish loach manot, Cleaning the cemetery before the holidays, Play Bingo game with small gift certificate at Senior’s home.

Theology with the Rabbi

Rabbi will analyze with the students selected biblical texts and rituals to see how they correlate with what we perceive Judaism to stand for, such as, Who are we Jews, God, What is Torah, Ethics, Human Nature, Jewish views of the world and of human dignity, What is confirmation, Sin and repentance,

Rabbi will also prepare them for the Confirmation service.

Confirmation – Special project

The confirmation students will create a special project related to the topic of their choice. Looking into non-fiction Jewish books such as the Torah, Talmud, the books by the sages and so on, they will be able to find (a) the importance of it in the Jewish tradition, (b) a Jewish way of looking at it, and (c) that they are not remote antiquities but are a real, vital force in the lives of Jews. The students will pick the book/topic or author and research and create a project in a multi- media way (slide show movie, play, creative writing and so on).